Los canales del desapalancamiento del sector privado: una comparación internacional
Following the increase in private-sector indebtedness before the 2008 Great Recession, balance sheet adjustment by the most indebted agents will be a necessary condition for achieving balanced growth. This paper analyses the deleveraging of the non-financial private sector in four countries that experienced a housing boom —US, UK, Ireland and Spain— and how it is affecting their pace of recovery. The results indicate that in 2008-2012 there are differences in these countries not only in the intensity of debt reduction but also in the distribution between agents and productive sectors, and in the form deleveraging is taking. Arguably, too, differences in observed patterns of adjustment are related to distinct economic policies and international environments. In the United States the drivers reducing debt are the improvement in activity and household debt restructuring and defaults; in the United Kingdom inflation has dominated, eroding the value of debt; and in Ireland and Spain the reduction in net financing flows is proving more important. Deleveraging processes will foreseeably continue in the future, as debt ratios are still relatively high. These processes are usually gradual in nature, so they will continue affecting consumption and investment growth over the coming years.
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